Dear parents and carers
We know how difficult the 2020/21 academic year was but I think this year has been one of the most rewarding. The recovery that we made has been spectacular and whilst we’ve had our challenges it is wonderful to see things that we take for granted, happen again.
We’ve moved forward together and worked together with compassion and understanding. Our staff have been resolute in ensuring students have had opportunities and celebrated achievements, it’s felt good. The scars of Covid will live with us but they won’t define us. We look forward and plan to ensure our young people have the best and we continue to remove any barrier to their learning. We’ve not been able to make progress without our parents and carers, thank you for your continued support during this year.
Whilst the heatwave put paid to our Prize Giving event, we are hoping to move this to October where we’ll celebrate students achievements from the 2021/22 academic year. In July 2023, we’ll have another Prize Giving to celebrate 2022/23 achievements. We’ve moved this event to the summer so we are able to include the new year 7 in our awards in the same year they started.
That being said we’ve had plenty of huge successes including the return of prom and a leavers’ assembly for year 11, it was also great to see Sports Day back where we saw quite a few records fall and some incredible participation - it was also a big win for Bredon, congratulations to Mr Morris and his house. We’ve enjoyed watching High School Musical this year at our new theatre venue, The Cornbow Hall - what a talented group of young actors, singers and dancers we have; the productions just keep getting better and better. We’ve had Duke of Edinburgh expeditions expertly led by Mr Morrissey and Mrs Thomas and collections for The British Red Cross, Black Country Food Bank and Comic Relief where staff really threw themselves into the day by dressing up.
We’ve continued to wear odd socks to mark Anti-Bullying Week and we’ve done even more to teach equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Mr Grant has continued to spearhead this by celebrating religious festivals, celebrating cultures, embedding EDI into the curriculum and celebrating Black History Month. In addition, we were incredibly proud that our head girl, Madison Homer, won the Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) Hero award. This award was for a student who has shown exceptional commitment to supporting the wider ethos and values of the Academy and she thoroughly deserved it.
Students have been learning to play a hassle-free beginner trombone called a pBone and we’ve pushed hard with our STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects resulting in a newsletter put together by students (you can read this at the end of this letter). We’ve also been awarded the Eco Schools Green Flag award, an international accreditation that recognises and rewards young people’s environmental actions. We’ve had the UK and ROI people director for Tesco talking to students about her role and career and we are incredibly proud of Marcus Galli, who is going to be a Batonbearer for the Birmingham 2022 Queen's Baton Relay in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games later this month. Finally, our Friends of Forge have been going from strength-to-strength under the leadership of Vicki, they've put on some fabulous events for us and we are eternally grateful for their time and efforts, we are incredibly lucky to have such a proactive and passionate group.
It’s only when we revisit the last 12 months and review some of the highlights that we truly realise just how far we have come and how important it is to celebrate our young people, trust them and let them lead. They do incredible things and we are blessed to be able to work with them and guide them on their journey.
We all deserve a summer break and the last day of term is Thursday 21 July 2022 and we will finish at 12 noon. This day will also be a non-uniform day and we will be collecting for Black Country Food Bank on the gate - each family will be asked to donate an item of food to the food bank. You can read more HERE.
It is worth noting the arrangements for the start of term too:
In September, students should come to school with the equipment required to learn. The minimum equipment that will be needed is a pencil case with a pen, pencil and ruler. There are still instances of students coming to school without this kit and we will be taking a zero-tolerance approach on being ready to learn.
All students are expected to wear full uniform everyday. The daily uniform includes:
Full details of our uniform expectation and our uniform supplier can be found here.
This year we also launched Back To BASICS and we’ll be talking to students again about this in September. We are keen to embed this deeper with students and you’ll be hearing lots more about BASICS. I believe that if we get the BASICS right, everything else will follow. Please talk to your children about this and ensure they know how important getting the BASICS right is in life and at school.
You will remember that we banned mobile phone usage when students are inside a building, this has worked incredibly well. Our parents have been supportive and students have adopted this without too many issues. However, mobile phones can and occasionally do lead to problems in school such as bullying, filming, disruption to lessons and inappropriate usage of the internet leading to potential safeguarding issues. To this end we will be adapting our mobile phone policy to completely ban the use of mobile phones on the school site, during school hours. This includes break and lunchtimes. Any student found using their mobile phone during school hours will be dealt with in accordance with our policy and procedure.
We understand that mobile phones are a key part of modern life and that most students own a mobile phone for safety reasons in order to contact home before or after school. We want to be clear that students can carry a mobile phone in their bag but from September we will be asking that they are not seen or used whilst they are on site. You can find more details here.
It is also important to send a reminder about medicines. If your child needs any form of medicine in school, this should be administered via reception and our first aid trained staff. Please can you bring the medicine into the Academy, in the original box, with full instructions. Students should not carry any form of medicine with them at all. If you have any concerns or questions regarding this procedure, please call main reception or email [email protected].
Exam results days have reverted back to pre-Covid timings so they are later in August and a week apart. Full guidance will be sent out nearer the time:
Year 13 - Thursday 18th August 2022
Year 11 (also including year 12 and year 13 GCSE resit students) - Thursday 25th August 2022
Home learning is an important strategy in helping students learn. From September, home learning will be an important part of the daily experience of all Forge students.
In Key Stage 3, all students will complete a weekly task in reading, maths and science. Students will have key words to learn to spell, define and use in context - this learning will be directly linked to topics of study in class and its completion will deepen their understanding of the topics covered in lessons. Students will also be asked to complete a deep learning task each half term. One subject will give your child a question to research and answer, choosing a way to present their ideas. Support sessions will be available in school and support materials via the Academy website for you to access.
In Key Stage 4, all students will receive a weekly prep task for each subject they study. The purpose of the task will be to ensure they are ready for a lesson later in the same week or the following week. Prep tasks revolve around the gaining of knowledge or the reading of a text. Staff will assume prep tasks have been completed and plan lessons accordingly. A regular consolidation task will be set in all subjects to check what students have retained. Consolidation tasks may be quizzes or written - these will be marked and used by staff to identify knowledge and skills gaps which will be addressed in class or revision sessions.
It is expected that all tasks are completed; please support your child in completing home learning tasks to the best of their ability.
We are saying goodbye to a number of staff at the end of this term who are moving on. I'm sure that you will join us thanking them for their valuable service to Forge and wishing them well in the future. We look forward to welcoming new staff in September and we'll be sure to introduce them when they start. But I would like to mention our two new assistant principals, Mr Craig Tyrie who will be responsible for key stage 4 (academic) and Mrs Katie Tolley who will be responsible for teaching and learning. We will also be welcoming a new vice principal, Mr Stephen Lodge will be joining us and he will be responsible for behaviour and attitudes (students services). Mr Lodge will be replacing Mrs Butler who is stepping down from this role but thankfully staying with us as a much valued member of leadership and teaching staff.
You might be aware that we have entered into a partnership with the British Red Cross for the next academic year as our charity partner. This has been driven by our students and our response to global crises, we expect students to lead the direction of the relationship and associated activities. We are proud to welcome the British Red Cross into the Forge Family, here are some welcoming words from Cara Munrow, the regional fundraiser at the British Red Cross:
We are delighted that Ormiston Forge Academy have chosen to partner with the British Red Cross in September to support our Disaster Fund. In recent years, we’ve seen huge disasters including a devastating earthquake in Haiti and the Afghanistan conflict.
Nobody can predict where the next disaster will strike. But one thing is certain, the Red Cross must be ready to act as soon as we're needed. Where buildings like hospitals are destroyed, we fill the gaps so people can still get critical medical care. Where the trauma of losing a home leaves communities reeling, we take the time to listen to what they’re going through and help them move forward.
We rely on the generosity of the public to help thousands of people when they need us most. Our partnership with Ormiston Forge will help us to respond as soon as we are needed, and make a huge impact to people affected by disasters and emergencies in the UK and overseas for years to come.
In 2020, during the pandemic, we shared a list of support services. We know that these issues don’t simply disappear and so we are sharing this link again. It has a list of links from third party providers who can offer support for a range of problems including mental health and physical and emotional issues:
Finally, we look forward to welcoming our new year 7 in September and kick start our recruitment event for students who will start in year 7 in 2023. We are running open events in September and you can find the details here.
And so, another academic year draws to a close. Enjoy the break. Please look after yourselves and stay safe and I look forward to welcoming you back in September, refreshed and ready for a new academic year.
Dr Lisa Mason
Welcome to the first issue of our termly Forge STEM Newsletter. This publication has been entirely created by students of the Academy. They have worked on it in their own time, as well as in English and science lessons. We hope you enjoy it.